A step-by-step look at the FBI's case against one of Sean Miller's longtime aides. By Caitlin Schmidt, Arizona Daily Star.
The charges against UA assistant coach Book Richardson
The FBI has arrested and charged UA assistant basketball coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson with a battery of charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes by an agent of a federally funded organization, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and wire fraud conspiracy.
The initial investigation revealed the related scheme involving “significant cash payments” by athletic advisors and executives of Adidas to the families of high school basketball players at the request of coaches at two of the universities, in exchange for agreements by the athletes to attend the universities and later to sign with the advisors and Adidas, the complaint says.
Federal agents describe a months-long scheme in which Richardson colluded with a sports agent and financial manager to funnel Arizona Wildcats stars to them.
Here’s a timeline of Richardson’s involvement, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
February-September: Richardson allegedly asks for $20,000 in bribes
The complaint against Richardson says that between February and September, co-defendants Christian Dawkins and Munish Sood paid Richardson $20,000 in bribes, “some of which Richardson appears to have kept for himself and some of which he appears to have provided to at least one prospective high school basketball player” in order to recruit the player to UA, the complaint says.
The case involved a confidential witness who began working with the FBI in 2014 and was sentenced earlier this month in connection with securities fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and making false statements. The person’s name was not made available on the complaint.
In exchange for the money, Richardson agreed “to use his influence over the student-athletes he coached to pressure them” to hire Dawkins as manager and Sood as financial adviser, according to the complaint.
March: Richardson reportedly meets Dawkins at Pac-12 Tournament, bills himself as “a relationship guy”
Dawkins, a sports agent who was fired by ASM Sports earlier this year, received money to start a new company from Sood, founder and CEO of the Princeton Advisory Group, an investment services company, according to the complaint.
Dawkins introduced Richardson and Sood during March’s Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, after which Sood said the meeting had been “good,” but the coaches wanted to wait to finish that year’s NCAA tournament before “engaging” with Sood and others, the complaint says.
In April, Sood called Richardson to invite him to New York, saying that he and Dawkins “were happy to be supportive in any way we can.” Richardson said that he “prided” himself “on being a people’s guy … a relationship guy,” according to the complaint.
“I just think, in terms of what we do, everyone’s just looking for a good person,” Richardson told Sood during the wiretapped phone call.
May: Sood reportedly decides Richardson should receive more than $4,000 per month
In later meetings among Sood, undercover agents and the confidential witness, Sood explained the plan for their business “that would include paying coaches in order to obtain athlete clients,” saying that the “best way” to recruit new clients “is to get the coaches,” after which he referenced Richardson, according to the complaint.
Dawkins told the group, “I can go to (UA’s basketball) practices like I’m on the team. … The coaches, that’s easy, that’s the easiest thing because they all, I know them all anyway. We’re friends,” according to the complaint.
In a May conversation, it was revealed that Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans, who also was named in the complaint, was being paid $4,000 a month to refer players to Dawkins and Sood’s businesses, but Dawkins noted that while Evans was good, he’s not one of the “elite dudes” like Richardson, the complaint says.
“Dawkins said that ‘if you’re gonna fund those kinds of guys, man, I mean like we’d be running college basketball,’” according to the complaint.
The confidential witness said that he was OK with giving Richardson money to both recruit players and spend on himself, to which Dawkins replied that Richardson should receive $4,000 a month.
June: Richardson reportedly receives $5,000 to land UA recruit
On June 20, an FBI wiretap recorded a June conversation between Dawkins and Richardson, in which the two discuss a high school basketball player that Richardson was going to pay to come play for the UA, the complaint says.
Dawkins told Richardson that the group was prepared to pay him $5,000 or more per month, and that Richardson could “funnel part of the bribe money” to pay the prospective player, saying “it’s multiple ways to skin a cat,” the complaint says.
Telling Richardson to “do whatever the (expletive) you want to do with the money,” Dawkins made reference to one basketball player at UA who had already received payments, saying “we got no expenses there,” according to the complaint.
Later that day, Richardson and Sood met in New York with the undercover officers and confidential witness, during which one of the undercover officers told Richardson that their goal was “to get new kids that we can sign long term” and that they were willing to pay coaches to direct players to retain their services, the complaint says.
During the meeting, Richardson promised to steer a current UA player toward Dawkins, saying that he’d already talked to the player’s mom and cousin, according to the complaint.
Richardson told the group that he was happy to direct players toward Dawkins and Sood, saying that he had “tried to do this a certain way, and my model doesn’t work,” the complaint says.
“At the end of the day these kids, and they are kids, my job is to try to put them in the best possible situation so everyone can be solid (and) make as much money as possible,” Richardson told the group during a recorded conversation.
At the end of the meeting, Richardson took $5,000 in cash in exchange for his agreeing to direct certain UA basketball players to hire Dawkins when they joined the NBA, the complaint says.
July: Richardson reportedly asks Dawkins for another $15,000
Dawkins told an undercover agent that Richardson needed another $15,000 to secure the player, whom Dawkins identified as a “top point guard in the country,” according to the complaint.
Dawkins told the agent that if this deal was made, “the leverage I have with the program would be ridiculous at that point,” and that UA head coach Sean Miller “is talking out of his mouth, he wants (the player) bad as (expletive,)” the complaint says.
July 20: Sood delivers the money
On July 20, in a meeting at Sood’s New Jersey office, Richardson collected the $15,000 and told Sood and an undercover agent that the player in question had committed, but his mother was asking for money because “she didn’t know what I was already doing for her son,” the complaint says.
August: Richardson reportedly invites Sood, Dawkins to visit Tucson
In August, Richardson invited Sood and Dawkins to visit the UA to meet with prospective players that Richardson intended to steer toward their companies. In a conversation about the upcoming trip, Dawkins told the undercover agent that although he didn’t know which players they’d be meeting with, “I know the guy with the 15 grand we gave him … committed to (UA) like three days ago. … So that deal got done,” the complaint says.
Aug. 30: Richardson reportedly says he will influence “sheltered” Arizona Wildcats player to sign with Dawkins
On Aug. 30, Dawkins, Sood and Richardson met at a restaurant in Arizona and talked about the players Richardson intended to “influence to sign with Dawkins’ new company,” including a “kind of sheltered kid” whose relative “doesn’t know” much about the industry because “this is his first and last rodeo,” according to the complaint.
Later that day, Dawkins, Sood and an undercover agent met with the player’s relative who said that Richardson “had attempted to steer” the player to hire Dawkins and Sood and that the player was “strongly inclined” to do so.
Tuesday: Richardson is arrested
Richardson was arrested and charged Tuesday. He was freed from federal custody after posting a $50,000 bond. He faces up to 60 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted of all charges.